Winter’s Last Gasp

By Holly Einess I arrive early at the Arboretum on this decidedly un-April-like morning. Snow covers the ground and the temperature hovers at freezing. Despite the recent step back to winter-like conditions, spring birdsong greets me as soon as I step out of my car. Chickadees are calling “fee-bee” and a dark-eyed junco sings a…

Camouflage

By Greg Lecker Flower gardens are being uncovered; and tulips are sprouting.  Birds are calling and singing:  robins in the woodlands and blackbirds marsh and open forest edges near water.  On this gray day, I search for a bit of green in the woodland. Hepatica Leaves and Flower Buds Joining bronze colored foliage remaining from…

Spring Phenology

By Mary Beth Pottratz Phenology – the timing of events in nature – is evident everywhere today at the Arboretum! A goose loafs on the ice in the sunny wetland. Protected from today’s winds that are gusting up to 32 mph, its mate dabbles in the water nearby. A pile of dried reeds forms their…

Contrasts in a Season of Transition

By Sydney Chandler In this season of transition, contrasts fill the landscape: warmth vs. cold, thawing vs. freezing, movement vs. stillness, and chatter vs. silence. In the spring, we can both observe and experience these contrasts as the natural world awakens. Ice formations on walking trail  Beautiful ice formations and nuances in fallen snow still…

Feathers, Fur, Frost, and Flood

By Greg Lecker As late winter advances day by day, birds are more active.  Cardinals are busily singing here and in the city.  Mallards are returning to my workplace marsh.  Throughout the dark night, neighborhood owls were heard and occasionally could be seen flapping silently between trees.  During my morning walks, I find carcasses of…

Waning Winter in the Spring Peeper Meadow

By Holly Einess With deep snow on the ground and temps in the low 20s, it’s not feeling particularly spring-like as I arrive at the Spring Peeper Meadow. A few splashes of color stand out—the shriveled fruits of the nannyberry (dark blue) and highbush cranberry (bright red), the washed-out red of sumac fruit clusters, and…

Preparing for Spring

By Mary Beth Pottratz A delightful hazy sun and temperatures in the balmy 20’s lure me out to the Arboretum. The Kentucky coffee trees over the patios behind the Snyder building are laden with half-foot long dark brown pods that seem almost ready to drop. And drop they will, as soon as nature declares spring…

Snow Drifts and Tightly Wrapped Scarves

By Sydney Chandler The snow drifts are deep, the sun is out, and the gusty wind leaves its trace at the Arboretum. The wind is heard throughout the landscape, it changes the look of the landscape, and it affects animal behavior. Windy Day Drifts There is a steady din of wind flying through the trees,…

From Snow to Spring

By Holly Einess I arrive at the Arboretum shortly after noon. It’s breezy and cold, with increasing winds predicted, so I forego the prairie walk I’d considered and opt instead for the more sheltered Wildflower Garden. I walk up Three-Mile Drive (closed to vehicle traffic for the winter months) until I reach the “Wildflower Garden”…

Probing Winter’s Cold Depth

By Greg Lecker Orange sun flickered amidst the cold daybreak as I departed Minneapolis.  Birds sang and called:  chickadees, northern cardinal, and crows.  A junco perched on a dogwood branch next to the porch.  However, by the time I arrived at the Arboretum, the only sun and bird I could find was depicted on Steve…